2020 NASCAR Cup Schedule Released

New Locales for Championship Race, Regular Season Finale Among Highlights of NASCAR Cup Series 2020 Schedule Announcement

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (March 26, 2019)– A champion crowned in the desert. The Last Great Colosseum becomes a postseason factor. A tricky doubleheader. The birthplace of NASCAR bookends the regular season. 

NASCAR today announced significant, dynamic changes to the 2020 NASCAR Cup Series schedule, with intriguing shifts during both the regular season and the Playoffs.

Most notably next season, NASCAR’s championship will transition from the beaches of Miami to the desert near Phoenix, Arizona, following the renovation and reconfiguration of ISM Raceway. These recent changes delivered a new and exciting form of racing just a few weeks ago, reinforcing it as the perfect stage for the 2020 championship finale. As part of the new schedule, a champion will be crowned on Sunday, Nov. 8 – a week earlier than in previous seasons.

Fans have expressed their desire for more short tracks in the Playoffs, and as a result, the iconic Bristol Night Race will become a part of the 10-week title battle as the first cut-off race on Saturday, Sept. 19. Bristol will join the Charlotte Roval (Sunday, Oct. 11) and Martinsville (Sunday, Nov. 1) as cut-off races, creating some of the most intense and pressure-packed “win-or-go-home” cut-off race scenarios in NASCAR Playoffs history. 

Another race rich with history will also join the post-season fold, as the “Lady in Black,” Darlington Raceway, will be the first race of the NASCAR Playoffs on Sunday, Sept. 6 with Las Vegas becoming the first race of the second round on Sunday, Sept. 27.

“The fans and the industry as a whole have been vocal about the desire for sweeping changes to the schedule, and the 2020 slate is a reflection of our efforts to execute against that feedback,” said Steve O’Donnell, NASCAR executive vice president and chief racing development officer. “These changes are a result of unprecedented consensus-building with our race tracks and broadcast partners; something we look to continue into 2021 and beyond.”

The Great American Race, the Daytona 500, will once again open the NASCAR season during President’s Day weekend on Sunday, Feb. 16, but NASCAR’s second visit to Daytona will come with much more on the line than in previous seasons. Under the lights on Saturday, Aug. 29, the superspeedway will set the Playoffs field as the last regular season race of the year.

“Quite fittingly, the birthplace of NASCAR will host the bookend races to the 2020 regular season,” O’Donnell said. “Racing in Daytona – particularly in the summer under the lights – never fails in delivering intense and unpredictable action. There’s no question this venue will create some incredible drama as drivers make one last push for a playoff spot.”

Speedway Motorsports' President Marcus Smith had these comments: “NASCAR's 2020 schedule is a product of unprecedented collaboration from so many stakeholders in our sport, but the most important were our fans. We’ve taken a tremendous amount of fan feedback to create a schedule that maintains the tradition of NASCAR's biggest weekends in our sport, while also adding some wrinkles the fans will love, particularly as we look ahead to the playoffs.

“Starting the season in Daytona and the back-to-back May weekends at Charlotte continue to anchor the first-half of the season, followed by a two-week break mid-summer that will give drivers, crew members and teams the opportunity to recharge before a final push toward the playoffs. Fans should appreciate a historical return to Labor Day for Darlington to start the playoffs. Throw in the unpredictability of Daytona to end the regular season, the Charlotte ROVAL and two short tracks for playoff bracket-busters, plus a change in venue for championship weekend and you’ve got the ingredients for some wild NASCAR racing in 2020 that both traditionalists and fans looking for a changeup will enjoy.

“From a Speedway Motorsports perspective, we’re pleased to kick off the early season ‘west coast swing’ at Las Vegas with the second race of the year, then welcome fans back to the Southeast to a warmer mid-March date at Atlanta. Texas, Bristol, Charlotte, Sonoma, Kentucky and New Hampshire continue to hold similar race weekends on the calendar through July, then we’ll amplify the intensity even more for the Night Race at Bristol as it moves to September as the cutoff in the first-round of the playoffs. Las Vegas moves later in September to a cooler race weekend in the desert, and the ROVAL returns to Charlotte’s more traditional mid-October weekend as the cutoff race of the second playoff round. Texas will cap our NASCAR SMI season with a playoff tussle a week earlier in advance of the local hunting season."

Following the Daytona 500, NASCAR’s trip to the West Coast will commence immediately with stops in Las Vegas (Sunday, Feb. 23), Auto Club (Sunday, March 1) and ISM Raceway (Sunday, March 8). Atlanta will move to Sunday, March 15 followed by Miami on Sunday, March 22.

Martinsville will move back in the schedule to take the spotlight – quite literally – on Mother’s Day Weekend when cars hit the track under the lights for primetime racing on Saturday, May 9. 

Pocono Raceway will make history when it helps kick off NASCAR’s summer portion of the schedule. On Saturday, June 27 and Sunday, June 28, the Tricky Triangle will host back-to-back premier series events, creating a bucket list, can’t miss destination weekend for NASCAR fans.

Finally, a tradition continues, with a passing of the baton from one iconic race track to another during the July 4th Weekend. Indianapolis Motor Speedway moves to a cornerstone weekend on the NASCAR calendar with a race at the Brickyard on July 5, a spot previously occupied by Daytona International Speedway.

Greg Walter, Charlotte Motor Speedway Executive Vice President and General Manager Commented that “we’re thrilled with the new schedule for 2020 and what it will mean for race fans. The back-to-back weekends in May allow us to continue expanding entertainment over a 10-day period, while keeping our traditional Memorial Day weekend finale with the Coca-Cola 600. It’s convenient for our fans traveling long distances and gives them so much opportunity to immerse themselves in a NASCAR race vacation throughout the Charlotte region. You simply can’t duplicate anywhere what you can do here with visits to the area race shops, the NASCAR Hall of Fame, Circle K Speed Street, NASCAR All-Star Race and the Coca-Cola 600, and the early release of this schedule will help the hospitality area prepare sooner than ever before.

“The fall playoff race became more convenient for fans as well, as the Bank of America ROVAL 400 moved back to Charlotte’s more historic mid-October race weekend preceding Columbus Day. For many fans, it’s a Monday off from work, which means a built-in travel day or a day of rest after a full weekend of fun at the speedway. And moving from the end of playoff round one to the cutoff race in round two just adds to the playoff intensity. We’re glad NASCAR and all the industry stakeholders worked so hard to get this schedule announced earlier so every fan and sponsor can take advantage of all that Charlotte has to offer in 2020.”

The entire 2020 NASCAR Cup Series schedule is listed below, and once again all races will air on either the FOX or NBC family of networks, MRN, PRN, IMS Radio, and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio. Specific times and networks will be released at a later date.

About NASCAR: The National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing, Inc. (NASCAR) is the sanctioning body for the No. 1 form of motorsports in the United States. NASCAR consists of three national series (Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series™, NASCAR Xfinity Series™, and NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series™), three regional series, one local grassroots series, three international series and the Automobile Racing Club of America (ARCA). The International Motor Sports Association™ (IMSA®) governs the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship™, the premier U.S. sports car series. Based in Daytona Beach, Fla., with offices in eight cities across North America, NASCAR sanctions more than 1,200 races in more than 30 U.S. states, Canada, Mexico and Europe. For more information visit www.NASCAR.comand www.IMSA.com, and follow NASCAR on FacebookTwitterInstagram, and Snapchat (‘NASCAR’).



DATE                        RACE/TRACK

Sunday, Feb. 9          The Clash

Thursday, Feb. 13      Duel at Daytona

Sunday, Feb. 16         Daytona 500

Sunday, Feb. 23         Las Vegas Motor Speedway

Sunday, March 1        Auto Club Speedway

Sunday, March 8        ISM Raceway

Sunday, March 15      Atlanta Motor Speedway

Sunday, March 22      Homestead-Miami Speedway

Sunday, March 29      Texas Motor Speedway

Sunday, April 5          Bristol Motor Speedway

Sunday, April 19         Richmond Raceway

Sunday, April 26         Talladega Superspeedway

Sunday, May 3           Dover International Speedway

Saturday, May 9         Martinsville Speedway 

Saturday, May 16       All-Star Race, Charlotte 

Sunday, May 24         Charlotte Motor Speedway

Sunday, May 31         Kansas Speedway

Sunday, June 7          Michigan International Speedway

Sunday, June 14        Sonoma Raceway

Sunday, June 21        Chicagoland Speedway

Saturday, June 27      Pocono Raceway

Sunday, June 28        Pocono Raceway

Sunday, July 5           Indianapolis Motor Speedway

Saturday, July 11       Kentucky Speedway

Sunday, July 19         New Hampshire Motor Speedway

Sunday, Aug. 9          Michigan International Speedway

Sunday, Aug. 16        Watkins Glen International

Sunday, Aug. 23        Dover International Speedway

Saturday, Aug. 29      Daytona International Speedway

                                 PLAYOFFS BEGIN

Sunday, Sept. 6         Darlington Raceway

Saturday, Sept. 12     Richmond Raceway

Saturday, Sept. 19     Bristol Motor Speedway

Sunday, Sept. 27       Las Vegas Motor Speedway

Sunday, Oct. 4           Talladega Superspeedway

Sunday, Oct. 11         Charlotte Motor Speedway Roval

Sunday, Oct. 18         Kansas Speedway

Sunday, Oct. 25         Texas Motor Speedway

Sunday, Nov. 1          Martinsville Speedway

Sunday, Nov. 8          ISM Raceway


John Davison

Long-time RIS staffer, beginning in the mid-80s. Charlotte, NC area local contact.

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Volume 2019, Issue 3, Posted 6:03 PM, 03.26.2019